Published: June 27, 2014, Edited by: Schack Lindemann

Essential Software & Ressources for Rapid Prototyping

This is a curated list of software we recommend to use for rapid prototyping. While we prefer open source software we will always recommend the best tool for the job. Updated 2020/03/23.

The list is a mix of paid and free software.


These are tools to help you program software and microcontrollers, e.g Arduino UNO, NodeMCU or ESP32. The most basic tool are the Arduino IDE. All tools are available for Mac/Win/Linux.

3D CAD/Drawing/Generating

Tools for creating and manipulating 3D files. From complete production packages like Fusion to special tools like MeshLab.

Vector/CAD Drawing/Editing

2D Vector drawing is the basis of all digital production machines. It's resolution independent and comes in many file-types. CAD software like AutoCAD often works differently from ordinary vector apps.

Bitmap Drawing/Editing/Organizing

2D bitmaps is everything pixel based like photos. Most wellknown app is Photoshop. These apps create and manipulate images and produce files not suitable for production machines.

Electronics Scematic & PCB Layout

Video Editing /Projection Mapping

Tools for editing, colorgrading, compositing and projecting video material.

Audio Editing /Generation

Tools for music production, recording, manipulating and converting digital audio.

Desktop Publishing

Tools for layouting books, magazines and documents

Online tools

A collection of online tools for creating, converting and manipulating objects, files and code.

Other generators
Object Libraries


Collection of introductory video-tutorials to some of the tools linked to on this page. Especially Fusion 360 and Inkscape.

Collection of random relevant unsorted links.